Can we only speak when we are fully living what we are saying? If all our words had to cover all our actions, we would be doomed to permanent silence! Sometimes we are called to proclaim God's love even when we are not yet fully able to live it. Does that mean we are hypocrites? Only when our own words no longer call us to conversion. Nobody completely lives up to his or her own ideals and visions. But by proclaiming our ideals and visions with great conviction and great humility, we may gradually grow into the truth we speak. As long as we know that our lives always will speak louder than our words, we can trust that our words will remain humble.I've been thinking about this for a long time, actually... ever since I started to write my Simple Suggestions. Because honestly, I'm the first to admit that I can't fully live those suggestions out all the time, as much as I would like to. I dream of getting all my food locally, of baking my own bread weekly, of cooking more vegetarian meals, of joining a community garden... but I'm not there yet, and being as dizzy as I have been for the past eight months, I'm beginning to wonder if that particular limitation will ever go away. And as far as proclaiming God's love goes, I'm afraid I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to institutional religion, so these days, I'm not even much for talking about God.
June 21, Bread for the Journey, Henri Nouwen
But Henri Nouwen gives me hope. I'm not yet a hypocrite, because my own words keep calling me to conversion. I believe in all of my Simple Suggestions, and I believe in God. And I'm not dead yet, so chances are, I'll grow into being better at doing all these things... but in the meantime, I'll humbly admit that I'm not perfect... and that I don't succeed in implementing my Simple Suggestions all the time.
But we're trying... and that's what counts.